ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

How do I contact you? 

robertantonstrobel@gmail.com or you are welcome to friend me on Facebook and then message me.

What are your rates for commissions? 

Give me a number, or I can make a suggestion. Let's talk.

I'm afraid of commissioning because of X or because I believe X. What should I do?

Why don't you tell me? We might be able to work it out. I promise! No fear.

What will I get from a commission?

I can talk about what my musicians have done with my pieces. Generally, paying a composer results in a better performance, a more gratifying collaboration, a commitment to perform the work, a more giving music industry where more money flows, and some of my works' performances have ended up on the radio. 

Can you send a proposal? If you propose the most awesome idea, I will definitely commission you.   

First, consider the power my portfolio can have in deciding what you want and what you can suggest. This is the best approach.

If you ask, I think a few sentences is a reasonable limit, especially if the music is meant to have a program. In any case, I'll definitely bounce ideas off of you I have once I get commissioned, but we'll talk and come to a mutual conclusion. From my perspective as a composer, I simply can't take an imaginary piece as seriously as a real one.

I generally prefer if you abstain from approaching a proposal as something that will lead to an all for nothing decision on whether to commission me. Discussion is great! A good idea takes more time than you think, so consider being considerate and not asking beyond a few statements. If you ask me to commission you, I will come up with something that takes a lot of thought and is excellent. Think about how much more considerate doing this is for the composer. 

As I noted before, my portfolio is meant to give you an idea of what I can do (see below). If you have worries, listen to my music and come to a conclusion about what they want from it. Then, we can built our discussion from there. That's gives me a good direction to go. Of course, you are welcome to feed me your ideas for as much and as long as you want. Just remember that all they were expecting Beethoven to do was write a symphony.  

 Your draft you sent me looks a little bare. What's up?

It ends up saving time if I can focus on different elements at different stages. Relax, rest assured, my works are polished, and often highly detailed works of art. 

Have you ever turned people down on a possible collaboration? 

Yes. But I never totally outrule things, and I'm always respectful and respond to emails. You never know unless you try! Don't be the person that threw away a good opportunity because they never asked. 

I came here because I'm considering you for ________, what resources should I use to discuss the commission with you?

The best resources are the ones I have personally given on this site and can give you. For various reasons, my online persona on Google, etc., may not provide information that will be relevant for your search.  For example, I'm also an amateur writer (and written a book with professional editor cousin). I enjoy writing a variety of music and may feature pieces with a lot of viewing hits that may or may not be what you are looking for. My choir pieces online are different my art song style, since the latter are designed for the genuinely honorable use of everyone who wants to sing in church meetings, and the art songs are for highly skilled, trained musicians. Either way, accessing either type of music shouldn't make a difference on what you think about my choir or art songs. It would be wrong to assume that just because you've seen something online, it means I'm limited to just a certain style or medium

Harder questions/questions you probably should shouldn't ask me:

Question 1:

Let's commission, but first you have to organize the concert and pay me. You also have to find funds to pay yourself. This is the way I was told composers do things, or this is the culture of my university/state/city/country. Can you get these funds? 

I'll take a humorous approach to this: 

There are important pragmatic issues with this as a composer in my situation... 

1) I'm doing commissions, definitely not the other way around. If you want to grant with me, let's do it, but know what you want to do specifically, tell me what to do, and whether it will work!

2)From what I have seen, it's easier for performing groups to get funding to exist and be paid. You can be established somewhere, whereas I do things all over the world. Stability on your end helps finance the creation of new music on my end.

3) I've gotten outside funding before. They can be difficult to find, difficult to get, hard to raise, and for the record, I personally haven't even seen any readily advertised to composers that specifically included funding the concert (though the Fromm Foundation has some funds for performers, these are not "concert" funds). Do you know how much renting a real recital hall once costs in the US? Look it up. 

4) I would really rather, for my art's sake, write a work that is performed at a recital or was recorded on a CD with a variety of works. That's also probably a better idea for you! Who is your audience for such an endeavor? What is the point of it? All of this is really blurry if you do an integrated single composer's project. You have the power to attract people to concerts on a regular basis, and can introduce me on the side in the process. It's a better business practice. Solo composition recitals, as far as I know, only exist in universities (operas or huge symphonies excluded). They are generally less desirable than a mix of composers, in my opinion!  It's okay/possible to market yourself as a performer and support new music, I promise. 

5) I love and appreciate everyone that wants to perform or create new music but a composer can't write something for someone unless the performer either has something stable (a position, a recital, an ensemble, a studio, a supportive university, a great accompanist, an organization, etc.), or they have a practical idea of what to do when they perform or record it. From experience, you can make it happen if you have interest, no matter what situation you are in. Individual commissioners rarely have a perfect scenario, but they do it because they want to do it. 

6) I'm not discounting this integrated approach by any means (people wouldn't bring it up unless it pervaded in their country/state/situation/upbringing), but all things considered, there is nothing so powerful as a performer having faith in my music! That's something that is irreplaceable, and something I highly value. Take a step in the dark. Do it because you want to do it and think it will be good for you as a musician and your career! 

QUESTION 2:

I got this great text and melody, but one or both are copyrighted. Can you set it?

OR:

I want this piece to sound exactly like composer X and use some of his/her ideas, can you do it?

If you get copyright permission, I might be game, but that probably won't happen. I'm not going to do something illegal or dishonest. Copyright is a complicated issue and varies from country to country.

Question 3:

Can you send me the work completed or a sketch before I commission it, because I'm afraid of what could happen?

Understand that I send drafts and allow revisions, so you don't have to worry. See the tips above about what to discuss for commissioning. I'll send you a sketch once you commission it, but never before. Not everything you ask makes a good impression on me, and this doesn't. Besides, you're in good hands. I promise!

© 2020, Robert Anton Strobel, all rights reserved.